On display in the Day Missions Reading Room from March 20 to April 25 is artwork of Constance Pierce, a former ISM research fellow and Yale Divinity School resident-artist. Pierce is a retired associate professor of art from St. Bonaventure University in New York state. Her sketchbooks were twice featured at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. Her art is included in this museum's collection, as well as the Smithsonian Institution's Archives of American Art, the International Marion Research Institute, the National Gallery of Art's rare book library, and the Yale Center for British Art, Prints and Drawings sketchbook archive. She has exhibited for three decades, both regionally and nationally, and most recently in Japan.
Her work has been featured in articles and reviews in the Washington Post, New Art Examiner, New York Times, New Haven Register, Journal of the Print World, and Image: Art, Faith, Mystery. Constance also designs numerous seminars for institutions and private groups in her original special expertise titled "Imaging Journal: Creative Renewal and the Inward Journey."
Artist's statement about the works exhibited in the Yale Divinity Library:
I am compelled by Biblical narrative expressed in a contemporary idiom. I often work with images of pilgrimage, lamentation, absolution and rebirth. Such archetypal themes flesh out parable and reveal the ancient stories, once again reborn, in our current world of dissonance and division. The sacred scriptures, in their mythic and consuming drama, are also played out in our most inward journeys.
In the series of drawings currently displayed, my intent is to bear witness to the suffering and alienation of Christ resurrected in the dispossessed within our own midst. Sometimes my images are disturbing because I hope to disrupt complacency and bestir compassion. I desire to express the betrayed and afflicted, yet also the presence of Divinity in ministering emissaries alive upon the earth. The Christ and Judas abide within each of us. The moment of crucifixion or resurrection is not ancient history, but is reenacted anew within each soul.
The watercolor series on exhibition emerges out of a somewhat different genesis. Through these allegorical images, I hope to incarnate the radiant energy and spiritual import of the human form in the epiphany of dance, as well as the archetypal gestures of the human soul in the solitude of personal anguish. My intention is to illuminate the transcendent aspects of life, especially those experiences where we are entrained by a grace beyond ordinary perception.
If one could learn to read the gestures of trees or the movements of clouds with clarity, one might be able to decipher them as messengers; to read them like ancient dancers are read. They are signs upon the flesh of the earth, a sensuous calligraphy, ever pressing into our dim vision. It is not enough to arrange, however sensitively or cleverly, visual elements. I believe an artist needs to be open and vulnerable to the synchronistic entrance of the spiritual, for the elements of the spirit often use sentient forms as a metaphor.